This review originally premiered during FIN in 2020, and has been repurposed and republished for the film’s VOD release
There’s something so intensely charming about director Jason Arsenault’s debut, Wharf Rats, that part of the hilarity is the fact foul-mouthed content like this will make you smile so wide.
With Wharf Rats, we all see our worst friends — donned in flannels, chew in their mouths, scamming the EI system — and for 90 minutes, we have a grand old time with the scheming characters in this hilarious tilt.
Hughie (played wonderfully by an energetic Robbie Carruthers) spends his life drunk, sleeping or finding ways to plot his way out of not having to work but still get paid. His father — now deceased — was an incredible fisherman, but Hughie has squandered everything and was never trusted to carry on his father’s legacy.
When he finds a will from his father and realizes he has a missing older brother, he tries to pretend a new drifter is the long-lost brother, in order to inherit the Hackett fishing boat from his uncle.
What ensues is some of the smartest, funniest slapstick to come from the Maritimes in a long time. Carruthers, Dennis Trainor, Annie Briggs and Daniel Lillford are hilarious. With incredibly-timed, wonderful supporting turns from TPB alum Shelley Thompson and Jonathan Torrens, I found Wharf Rats to be a delight, start to finish.
It never takes itself too seriously, and if you’re willing to take Wharf Rats at face value, you’ll have one hell of a time.